Hi, how’s it going? I hope things are going good for you.
The holidays are not always easy for someone with bipolar disorder. All the excitement can “trip” one into a bipolar manic episode. The let-down after the holidays may “trip” one into a bipolar depressive episode.
You really need to watch your loved one at this time of year especially. And, of course, they need to be watching themselves.
Two of the worst triggers to a bipolar episode are anxiety and stress. The holidays are full of both these triggers for your loved one.
One advantage you have is that you can look back at last year and see how the holidays affected your loved one. Did they get nervous? Stressed? Out of control? Even gone into an episode? If it happened last year, it’s probably a good indicator of what will happen this year. So you need to be vigilant, and not let down your guard even though it is the holidays. Actually, you shouldn’t let down your guard especially because it’s the holidays.
If your loved one got anxious or stressed last year at this time, you will probably have to help them through this year as well. You can help your loved one through anxiety and stress.
Here are some suggestions:
• Be supportive
• Watch for signs or symptoms of an episode
• Avoid too much excitement
• Keep the gatherings to small ones
• Always have a Plan B
• Make arrangements so that your loved one can leave a gathering early if they get too anxious or stressed
• Have a ready (plausible) excuse for declining
holiday invitations so that your loved one doesn’t
get overwhelmed or be uncomfortable
• Make sure that your loved one is comfortable
wherever you go, and avoid those places (like the
mall) that cause them anxiety or stress
• Keep the home environment as stress-free as possible
• Only have people over to your house if your loved
one is ok with it
• Occasionally check with your loved one
verbally to see if they are feeling ok – but not
so much that they feel like you are bugging them
• Be understanding if your loved one doesn’t feel
up to company, or up to going out to a gathering
or party (you may have to hide your disappointment)
Although the holidays are a trigger for some people
with bipolar disorder, your loved one doesn’t have to
be one of these people with a little forethought and
planning, as well as vigilance on your part.
Well, I have to go!